The quarter-finals of the 2014 European Union Boxing Championships took place this week in Sofia, Bulgaria, with a young Slovakian team and the revered Irish squad both performing well on the sixth day of the competition.
Another youthful side from France enjoyed a near perfect day in the championships while the host nation guaranteed four medals on home soil after victorious quarter-finals.
Bout of the Quarter-Finals
EUBC European Continental Championships bronze medallist David Oliver Joyce retained his place in the Irish team following victory in the National Championships in February.
The 27-year-old lightweight (60 kg) boxer also went on to win the famous Chemistry Cup in Halle, Germany in May defeating Kazakhstan’s AIBA World Boxing Championships 2013 bronze medallist Berik Abdrakhmanov in the final.
In Sofia, Joyce stopped Danish teenager Mahmoud Khattab in the opening preliminary round and following his success was then scheduled to meet Poland’s star boxer, Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics bronze medallist Dawid Michelus, who also competes for Rafako Hussars Poland in the World Series of Boxing.
The experienced Irish boxer won every round against his rugged opponent in advancing to the semi-finals of the championships.
Surprise of the Quarter-Finals
Slovakia’s Stefan Mezei was the silver medallist in his country’s previous National Championships, and went to Sofia as a comparably inexperienced boxer in the competition.
The 22-year-old light flyweight (49 kg) proved he is a natural talent in the sport and despite his lack of bouts eliminated Turkish national champion Tolgahan Ozturk via a unanimous decision.
His teammate, Viliam Tanko was a quarter-finalist at the last edition of the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships in Rotterdam last year, and was drafted to his country’s elite squad this year.
The 19-year-old flyweight, who trains in the KO Boxing Club, Galanta, Slovakia, met the host nation’s most experienced boxer, London 2012 Olympian Aleksandar Aleksandrov in the quarter-final.
Slovakia’s teenage sensation caused the biggest surprise of the day with a triumph over his veteran rival, winning the bout by unanimous decision.
One to watch
Bulgaria’s former EUBC European Junior Continental Championships silver medallist Simeon Chamov has been the host nation’s best welterweight (69 kg) boxer since 2010, and in recent years has won several national and international boxing events.
The 24-year-old eliminated Turkey’s Huseyin Karslioglu in the first preliminary round, and pulled off a minor shock when he defeated Ireland’s Beijing 2008 Olympian John Joe Joyce in the quarter-final, winning the bout on a split decision.
Team of the Quarter-Finals
The national elite team of French boxers has been rebuilt in the two years following the London 2012 Olympic Games, with their young hopefuls being blooded through to now achieve top results.
Their Flyweight (52 kg) Elie Konki started the day with a win over Poland’s Maciej Jozwik, while EUBC European Youth Continental Champion Christian M’Billi Assomo, who has won three international tournaments already this year, continued the winning streak by beating England’s Sportaccord World Combat Games bronze medallist Danny Dignum in the quarter-final.
France’s third triumph on Day 6 was delivered by Tony Yoka in the Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg) where he eliminated Turkey’s Ali Eren Demirezen.
One to watch
Mediterranean Games winner and two-time Olympian José Kelvin de la Nieve was born in the Dominican Republic, but his family moved to Spain in his childhood where he has become one of their best boxers in the last decade.
The Andalucian-based boxer was brought into the national team in 2004, and has since won several international tournaments.
Now 28-years-old, the flyweight has made significant progress in the European Union Championships, where he eliminated Belgium’s Feliks Stamm Memorial Tournament bronze medallist Dodji Ayigah.
Stat/Fact of the Quarter
The 40 medallists remaining in the championships still have the chance to win a gold medal in Sofia.
Number of medallists by countries:
Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia: 4
Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania: 3
Finland, Poland, Spain: 1
The European Union Championships will be continued with the semi-final stage on Friday, August 15 after the rest day of the competition on Thursday.
Twenty exciting bouts will be held in Sofia on the seventh day of the competition.